Three finalists seek chance to lead one of university’s largest colleges

Emma Dejong

Emma Dejong

The search for the next dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences has been narrowed down to three finalists after a search committee looked through more than 30 applications.

“It was a very strong pool of applicants,” said Lewis Brown, the chair of the search committee and dean of the College of Engineering.

All three candidates have ties to SDSU. Barry Dunn, the assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Resource Sciences at Texas A&M University, taught in the Animal and Range Science Department at SDSU.

“This is kind of the culmination of my whole life,” Dunn said. “I love South Dakota State, and I would love the opportunity to come back.”

Kenneth Odde, the head of the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University, attended SDSU and would be excited to return.

“I am a native of South Dakota, so I know a lot about the state,” Odde said. “I think this is an outstanding opportunity to serve the students at South Dakota State University.”

Joseph Hiller, head of the American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program at the University of Arizona, is also a former student of SDSU.

Each finalist will undergo interviews in early December, and Provost Laurie Nichols will make the final decision.

“They are two-day interviews,” Brown said. “All three candidates will have one day on campus followed by one day off campus where they will go to Pierre and Rapid City to meet stakeholders.”

The on-campus interviews will be held Dec. 2, 3 and 8. The public forums’ dates will be announced soon.

This is the college’s second search for a new dean after last spring’s search did not produce an acceptable leader. Don Marshall has served as the interim dean since November 2008, succeeding SDSU alumnus Gary Lemme, who led the college for four years.

The new dean will be announced in January, but the actual start time has not yet been decided.

“[It] could be as early as the spring or as late as the fall,” Brown said.


Barry Dunn has held his position at Texas A&M-Kingsville since January 2004. He previously served as assistant professor and Extension range management associate in the SDSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences. He served as a research associate and manager of the beef cattle research unit at the Carrington Research and Extension Center for North Dakota State University. He has owned and operated several farms and ranches, including the L7 Ranch Company near Mission. He earned Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. degrees from SDSU.

Joseph Hiller currently serves in several roles at the University of Arizona, where he has been a faculty member in watershed management and ecohydrology and as an administrator since 2000. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities Advisory Board. He has also served at the Wyoming Extension Service and the University of Wyoming in several roles – water specialist, assistant director of Agriculture and Natural Resource programs, area water management agent, district agent and county agent. Hiller was a senior policy analyst in the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. He recently retired as a lieutenant colonel, Special Forces, U.S. Army Reserve. He earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of Wyoming and a bachelor’s degree from SDSU.

Kenneth Odde has held his positions at Kansas State since 2007. He previously served as professor and head of the North Dakota State University Department of Animal and Range Sciences in Fargo, N.D. His other academic appointments include assistant, associate and professor of reproductive management at the Colorado State University Department of Animal Sciences, and instructor in the Colorado State University Department of Surgery and Medicine. He also has experience in the beef industry and has worked as vice president of AgSpan in Pollock, manager of Pfizer Cow-Calf Technical Services and senior veterinarian for SmithKline Beecham-Pfizer Animal Health. Odde received his Ph.D., DVM and M.S. degrees from Kansas State University and his B.S. degree from SDSU.

-Compiled by University Relations